Tom Walma

Magnetic Game Room

InventionTom WalmaComment

I was thinking about how to create the ultimate video game experience.  People always talk about wiring something into your brain so you remain motionless (like in the movie "The Matrix") but get the sensations of living in the video game.  I don't like that approach because

  1. It's a long way in the future
  2. Your body is left to atrophy while you are motionless, unless technology has solved that problem
  3. I think that for self-esteem reasons people will always want to compete and succeed in the physical world

The current approach to creating the ultimate video game experience seems to be using a virtual reality (VR) headset and an omnidirectional treadmill.  Virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift let you look in all directions.  "Omnidirectional treadmills", which are like a regular treadmill but allow you to run in any direction.  I have seen an omnidirectional treadmill where you wear slippery booties and you slide like you are running on ice, and there is a bar at waist-level that keeps you in place.  This treadmill allows you to run, but doesn't let you do more complex motions like bending over.  It also doesn't provide feedback, i.e. if you run into a wall in the video game, the omnidirectional treadmill won't stop your legs from running.

I have a different approach, which is somewhat less practical and affordable than the VR headset approach but possible with current technology.  My idea is to have a small room with powerful magnets in the walls and under the floor, wear a magnetic suit and electromagnetic boots, have video projector(s) mounted on the ceiling to show video on all of the walls, and have a slippery floor just like the omnidirectional treadmill.

The magnets in the walls would constantly push you toward the center of the room since you are wearing a magnetic suit, allowing you to run in any direction without the restriction of having to stand straight up like the omnidirectional treadmill previously mentioned.  The magnets in the walls would have a constant magnetic charge which would push you toward the center of the room, and would require no electricity.  On top of that, the walls would also have electromagnets to push you or hit you with a pulse based on the activity of the game. 

The electromagnets in the floor and in your boots would 1) stick your foot to the ground to prevent it from sliding to simulate running into a wall or barrier 2) cushion your fall to keep you from hurting yourself in real life, allowing you to attempt flips and other fun stuff 3) push you up with so much force that you can fly

The electromagnets in the walls and the floor may be able to send targeted magnetic pulses to a very specific location (like a laser does), thus allowing them to manipulate electromagnetic game props, such as causing a gun that you are holding to shake when you press the trigger or throwing an electromagnetic ball at you.

The magnetic game room would either come in a self-contained shed-sized building, or it would be installable in a normal garage, where a circular wall would be split into 3 sections, one of which would be attached to the floor and the other 2 can slide or roll into place and be stored against the section which is attached to the floor.  The slippery surface of the floor would be able to be folded up or rolled up to allow room to park your car.  The electromagnets in the floor would probably have to be built into the garage floor, thus requiring you to cut out a chunk of the concrete floor to install them, and they could be driven on.  The game room could also be installed in a house similar to the way it is installed in a garage, except the ceiling would have to be fairly high so you don't smack the ceiling with your arms when you lift them up and jump.